It’s the Season of Christmas, the twelve days (yes, Christmas is a season, not just a day) when we celebrate the Incarnation, the birth of Christ our Lord. “Let every heart prepare him room.” Yes indeed, let Jesus into your heart. Just don’t keep him there.
Good heavens, people, we have to move our faith from our hearts and heads down into our hands and feet. Faith which lies dormant inside of us is no faith at all. Abraham wasn’t blessed for his own sake, he was blessed to be a blessing. Jesus didn’t come merely to save us. Jesus saves us from our own sin and darkness so we can share the light of Christ with others.
Look, this is easy. Go serve somebody, anybody, during the Christmas Season (now through Jan. 5). Then do it again in February. You can serve in small, simple ways. Give someone your place in line. Let someone cut in front of you in traffic. Take your neighbor’s trash can back up to the house for him. Babysit a toddler so a young mom has time to return things without kids pulling on her. Help a friend take down Christmas lights.
Or you can serve in bigger ways with others who are already serving. Haven for Hope. San Antonio Food Bank. Taking it to the Streets. They may have extra help around the holidays, so offer to do the work no one else wants to do. Do the prep work. Clean up. Take out the trash. Ask them what they need done, then do it.
But bring an envelope with you.
- You’ll need to prepare the envelope beforehand.
- Write your own name on the outside of the envelope.
- Then write these words, “If I don’t come back for this, open on March 1”.
- Place a check in the envelope, made out to the ministry or non-profit you’re going to serve. But make it a good one! Don’t wimp out now. Fifty bucks or a hundred or five hundred. Make it just enough that you wince a little when you write it, not so much that you can’t let it go, but big enough that you’d like that check back.
- Put the check in the envelope and seal it.
- Bring your calendar with you.
- Take the envelope with you and give it to whomever is in charge.
- Tell them, “I am coming back to serve with you again. When I do, I will retrieve this envelope. If I do not, you may keep whatever is inside as a donation.”
- Then whip out your calendar and set a specific date and time when you will return.
- Add the date to the outside of the envelope.
Instant motivation. Just like that. Not that you wouldn’t keep the promise you made to yourself about going back. Not you. But some people find it difficult to follow through with their own good ideas. Just ask any trainer at your local gym.
When you go back to serve with that ministry again, ask for the envelope. Don’t be shy. They’ll be happy to give it to you because it means you are there. Not there during the holiday rush, but there when the need is still great but the volunteers are few. Go back and be the hands and feet of Jesus again. Carry the light of Christ out into the world.
Create room for the Messiah by putting flesh on your faith, faith con carne. As Paul tells us, “work out your salvation,” not to earn it (you can’t) but to use it. Go get that envelope. Then do with it whatever you will.